I can happily say I survived my senior college spring break ?! And it was everything we expected and more. I went with all of my best girlfriends (so when I say “we” in this post I’m referring to us) and around 200 University of Richmond seniors, the majority of which I also know well (it’s a small school, ha). We stayed at the Hard Rock Resort in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic for five nights. I have a lot to say about it all so I started with a pro/con list and then segue into what we did and where we ate!
p.s. My girlfriends helped write this blog post on our way back from the trip so lots of thanks to them for their insight!! xx
- The room facilities— Our room was so. cool. We booked the Caribbean suite and had two double beds (plus a cot which we didn’t really use), an indoor jacuzzi that could fit four people, a huge shower that had two shower heads, and a balcony with outdoor seating that overlooked a lagoon. Tip: Book the resort transportation to and from the airport– it was inexpensive and convenient! ALSO, we were in building two, which was a five minute walk from the lobby and most of the restaurants/casino and nightclub. A few of our friends were in building seven, which was steps from the beach and some of the main pools– so it just depends on what you prefer! You can call and request this/if you want to be near your friends 🙂
- All-inclusive 24/hour room service— We had this the whole time we were there and it was dangerous. We would get cheese plates, champagne, bottles of water, chicken fingers (why not?!), etc. throughout our stay. They always gave us a time estimate as to how long it would take which was nice as well.
The jacuzzi, cot, and balcony in our room.
- Buffets everywhere— Speaking of food, we found that there were buffets of snack food literally everywhere throughout the resort, which I’ve honestly never experienced before, haha. When we first arrived and checked in in there was a DJ in the lobby and buffets of sushi, mozzarella sticks, cupcakes, frozen drinks, etc., just sitting out for everyone to enjoy. It was like being in a fantasy world, really.
- Breakfast— Okay, more food… I thought the breakfast buffets were the best meals we had. They had fresh make-your-own fruit smoothies and omelet stations and rich coffee… it was the ideal jumpstart to the day.
- Casino & club on property— We underestimated how nice it would be that the resort had its own Casino and nightclub on the resort property. We would walk 5-10 minutes from our room (we were in building 2) to the casino and club almost every night.
- The spa and spa services— These were rejuvenating and such a wonderful break from the sun. See more info about what we did in the spa below.
- The wide beach— One day during the trip Johnny and I (he was there too) took a walk down the beach past the other resorts. We noticed that the beach that the Hard Rock was on was one of the widest and most luxurious. Throughout our stay we found that there were always beach lounges available and plenty of tiki style huts to lay under!
The gorgeous beach and water.
- Shopping— I found that there were a few adorable resort boutiques on the Hard Rock property right past the lobby. There were also duty free shops and stores where you could purchase sunscreen, medicine, etc., which was convenient to have access to while we were there (read on to see how I battled stomach issues, ha).
- The resort size— I went with 200+ other people I knew, and the resort was so big that I wouldn’t really see anyone if I didn’t seek out where everyone was. In other words, the Hard Rock can easily accommodate huge groups and you can all be together at one pool (there are many!) or spread a part if you want to do other things for a day. By the third day, I pretty much had my whereabouts and could get around without asking someone where to go or looking at the map.
- The resort staff— They were really accommodating throughout our stay. Whenever we needed something or had an issue (like when our TV stopped working when we were trying to turn on the Bachelor— eek) they immediately came to our room to take care of the issue. You get American TV channels as well, which was nice!
- Resort credits—The Hard Rock has an interesting all-inclusive perk where you receive a certain amount of resort credit depending on how long you stay. You can use that credit on pretty much all of the resort activities and added bonuses— such as renting out a Bali bed by the pool or going horse back riding on the beach. We stayed 5 nights and got $1500 in credit and just paid a 20% service fee on everything we bought with the credit when we checked out.
An area of the resort right outside the gym, which I went to a few of the mornings.
- Iffy weather— We went during the Dominican Republic’s rainy season, so we had two rainy days and three sunny ones. It was pretty windy every day we were there as well, which felt great on the hot, sunny days but not so nice on the colder, rainy ones.
- The pools— The pools were not heated and there were no outdoor hot tubs. Though it felt refreshing to get in the pools on the sunny days, we were looking for a source of hot water when it was colder and rainy, ha!
- No outdoor eating options— We didn’t see any places where we could have a sit down lunch on an outdoor patio or by the beach, instead there were just buffets of food by the pool and some grills on the beach with food options. There were also no real outdoor dining options for dinner or any outdoor bars open at night that we saw.
WHAT WE DID
There was a multitude of activities to do on the resort, but we weren’t looking to go all-out with planned schedules, so instead we just picked a few key things we wanted to try out.
We all booked either the 50 or 80 minute “relaxing massages” in the spa and all really enjoyed it. We also got to sit in the massage pools, hot tubs, sauna, ice room, and steam room, where we exfoliated ourselves with clay. We all felt renewed and refreshed afterwards.
We used our resort credit to rent out two of the poolside day beds during the day we celebrated one of our best friend, Nicole’s, birthday. They came with champagne and appetizers and it was so relaxing to have the beds to use as a home base throughout the day.
The ceviche and fruit we ate in the poolside beds.
We swam in the ocean on every day that it was sunny and loved it. It was definitely more on the rough side when we were there with bigger waves, but there were sandbars so you could walk out and swim in the surf. The water was very warm and clear turquoise too!
This was the nightclub and the casino that we would went to at night. The casino was really entertaining (even though I didn’t gamble) and the club reminded us a lot of European ones we’ve been to. As I mentioned, it was so convenient (and honestly probably safer) that we never had to leave the property at night.
We usually started out here before the club and casino and hung out at these bars— both had cool atmospheres and more relaxed vibes.
An outfit I wore one night out.
WHERE WE ATE
The resort offered a large variety of what type of food you could eat and what type of dinner you wanted— from a casual pizza place to a fancier steakhouse. It definitely was meat-heavy, so it may be difficult to go to if you’re a strict vegetarian. Overall, it was good for an all-inclusive resort, although I (and a few other people) experienced stomach issues for the majority of the trip. They only serve bottled water though, so I think there may have been something in the food or ice that led to my tummy aches.
We ate at these restaurants for the breakfast buffets and loved them both (see the pro list).
This restaurant had a buffet with almost anything you could think of— sushi, pastas, salad, mashed potatoes, vegetables, desert, etc., and servers carried around different types of meat, like steak and sausage, on sticks that they would cut for you at the table. It was a little overwhelming but delicious. We loved the fresh mojitos at the bar here as well.
This was the hibachi style sushi restaurant, which we didn’t completely love because we sat at a regular table instead of the hibachi one, ordered from a limited menu, and didn’t enjoy the food that much. Tip: if you go to this then do the hibachi instead of the normal sit down dinner and it might be better!
This was the Italian option and our favorite restaurant— the calamari, spaghetti, and mushroom truffle pasta were delish! It was one of the fancier options so we went there to celebrate Nicole’s birthday!
Tip: You don’t have to make reservations ahead of time, and the longest wait we experienced was 15 minutes
. . .
This was the courtyard of the building we stayed in.
All in all, I would 100% recommend this as a college (or maybe even high school) spring break trip. I wouldn’t necessarily claim that it’s the most family-oriented resort I’ve been to, but would recommend it if you are in college and go with your parents and want to do your own thing, because there are enough activities for every age and you wouldn’t have to hang with your parents the whole time here, ha.
Make sure to send this post out to anyone you know who may be interested in learning about our stay! xx